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Does BBC HD offer the same quality as Sky HD ?

spiritus

Standard Member
BBC's free to air service (subject to TV licencing of course) broadcast a number of programmes in High Definition e.g. Antiques Roadshow, some wildlife programmes and even some movies.

These programmes are free to to watch and don't require a settop box or dish.

If I wanted Sky HD I need a special box to presumably deliver the HD pictures to my HD Ready TV.

I'm puzzled as to whether the BBC HD programmes are of similar quality to Sky's dedicated HD service.

The reason I am asking is that I'm tempted to get Sky HD but I'm curious as to how a HD programme/movie would look on my TV. If I watch a HD programme on BBC would that give me a very close representation as to what to expect with SKY HD programming or is Sky HD superior in terms of picture quality ?

Thanks
 

choddo2006

Distinguished Member
Why do you think they don't require a dish (or Virgin cable service)? And the only TVs that can display them without a set-top box are the Panasonics with built-in freesat HD.

When you do have a dish, cos you need one, BBC HD quality is very good, on a par with Sky's HD output on average.
 

LanceR

Distinguished Member
you will need a dish no matter what you choose freeview HD isn't active yet.
 

SHATNERSTACTIC

Well-known Member
Sorry to be pedantic but you can download or stream some of BBC's HD content without the need for a dish (or a cable box) via iPlayer if you have the means.

BBC's HD content would give a good a pretty good indicator of what to expect from the Sky's channels HD imo.
 

LanceR

Distinguished Member
yeah you could but sitting front of a computer screen is a lot different to blowing it up on to a 40 inch plus display.

I think the bbc hd on Iplayer isn't that good anyway and not a good source to compare against.
 

SHATNERSTACTIC

Well-known Member
Most HD panels have a VGA input now and a lot of PCs output over HDMI. Getting an output from PC to your TV isn't really an issue these days I thought.

It's the cheapest and quickest way for the OP to demo HD on their home setup. (if they have the means to do it this way.)
 

spiritus

Standard Member
Why do you think they don't require a dish (or Virgin cable service)? And the only TVs that can display them without a set-top box are the Panasonics with built-in freesat HD.

When you do have a dish, cos you need one, BBC HD quality is very good, on a par with Sky's HD output on average.

Hmmm maybe I have this wrong then.

When I search the TV listings for BBC 1 & BBC 2 some of the programmes are listed as "HD".

When I watch these programmes I "think" I can see a noticeable difference between a BBC 1 HD programme and a BBC 1 standard definition programme.

Are you saying that the few programmes BBC 1 & 2 offers in HD (according to the TV listings) a dish or box is required ??

Perhaps the improvement in quality I appear to be seeing on these HD shows is just in my head :)
 

alsina

Well-known Member
Hmmm maybe I have this wrong then.

When I search the TV listings for BBC 1 & BBC 2 some of the programmes are listed as "HD".

When I watch these programmes I "think" I can see a noticeable difference between a BBC 1 HD programme and a BBC 1 standard definition programme.

Are you saying that the few programmes BBC 1 & 2 offers in HD (according to the TV listings) a dish or box is required ??

Perhaps the improvement in quality I appear to be seeing on these HD shows is just in my head :)

Yes, you do need a dish or box to see the HD version of the programme. Amazing what tricks the mind can play on you.
 

Espada

Standard Member
Perhaps the improvement in quality I appear to be seeing on these HD shows is just in my head :)

I am not so sure. Whilst you are not going to be watching the content in HD, I have noticed that content which was filmed in HD and has been downgraded to SD does look better than content originally filmed in SD.
 

alsina

Well-known Member
Sorry to be pedantic but you can download or stream some of BBC's HD content without the need for a dish (or a cable box) via iPlayer if you have the means.

BBC's HD content would give a good a pretty good indicator of what to expect from the Sky's channels HD imo.

BBC HD via iPlayer has a resolution of 1280 x 720 versus BBC HD via satellite which is broadcast at 1440 x 1080. The compression is also heavier via iPlayer, so in fairness HD via iPlayer isn't the same as watching via satellite/Virgin Media.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
I am not so sure. Whilst you are not going to be watching the content in HD, I have noticed that content which was filmed in HD and has been downgraded to SD does look better than content originally filmed in SD.



Yep the same was said about SKY's footy coverage in the 05/06 season as it was produced in HD but broadcast only in SD, there are benefits for SD only viewers with HD production as the source material starts off at much higher quality before being reduced to meet SD standards.
 

HDCriticalFan

Active Member
When I search the TV listings for BBC 1 & BBC 2 some of the programmes are listed as "HD".

When I watch these programmes I "think" I can see a noticeable difference between a BBC 1 HD programme and a BBC 1 standard definition programme.

You need to be a bit more specific about what you are doing. Would I be right in guessing that you are watching Digital Terrestrial - i.e. with a "normal" TV aerial going straight into your Freeview-equiped flat screen TV ? And do you press "DTV" or "Digital" to access about 30 channels (including BBC News and Sky News) ?

If so, then you are not receiving HD TV.

Are you saying that the few programmes BBC 1 & 2 offers in HD (according to the TV listings) a dish or box is required ??

For all intents and purposes ... yes.


Perhaps the improvement in quality I appear to be seeing on these HD shows is just in my head :)

No. Programmes made in HD often look better.

Firstly, they are captured by top quality HD cameras, edited at a higher resolution and only scaled down for broadcast. It's a bit like the early days of CD (do you remember AAD, ADD and DDD ?).

Secondly, more care (time and money) is taken with lighting and technical aspects of getting the best exposures etc,.

And thirdly, often the very nature of the programmes lend themselves to HD (that's why they are chosen after all). So stunning scenery in nature shows or brightly lit close ups of static details in Antiques Roadshow are always going to look better than dimly lit gritty/grimey cop shows.


I'm puzzled as to whether the BBC HD programmes are of similar quality to Sky's dedicated HD service.

Well, of course BBCHD is in fact part of "Sky's dedicated HD service". The BBC stuff is very good, probably better than the average of all the HD material. However most people think the very best HD is seen on some Sky Sports material (e.g. Premier League fooball) and some nature documentary channels. And of course Sky's Movies, whilst being quite variable, can be excellent if mastered properly. Many say that the films "Zulu", "The Italian Job" and "Lawrence of Arabia" represent some of the very best HD yet seen.





Regards
 

simon69c

Active Member
Hmmm maybe I have this wrong then.

When I search the TV listings for BBC 1 & BBC 2 some of the programmes are listed as "HD".
That simply means that the programme is available on the BBC HD channel, which is currently only available on satellite (either via Sky or Freesat) and cable (Virgin Media).

Furthermore you need to have a receiver that is HD capable too - you can't watch HD channels on the basic Sky, Freesat or Virgin Media set top boxes - you need the top of the range ones that are HD capable that output to a display that is also HD capable (which most modern TVs are).

In theory there shouldn't really be much difference in quality between the different service providers - they are all pumping the same BBC HD channel to your TV (at least I'm not aware of any differences in bitrates).

There is a longer term plan for HD content to be shown over Freeview, but that isn't due to happen for quite sometime - and will still need specialist set top boxes as current Freeview receivers (both in set top boxes and in TVs) won't be able to decode it.
 

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